The Knesset has made a major step toward bringing Arab and other non-Jews into Israeli universities and high-tech careers, Minister of Minority Affairs Avishai Braverman said. Braverman's office was given 350 million shekels ($95 million) towards improving pre-university entrance examination scores among Arab students.
Braverman described the sum as unprecedented. Currently, 9,000 Israeli Arabs study in Jordanian universities – a situation that causes Israel to lose out both financially and culturally, he said.
Helping more Arab students meet the acceptance standards for universities and colleges in Israel will benefit society as a whole, he added.
Braverman met with members of the Knesset's Science and Technology committee and with experts on the issues facing non-Jews in higher education and high-tech in Israel to follow up on a proposal from MK Hanna Swaid to push for the inclusion of more Arab citizens in high-tech.
Arab citizens say they face obstacles in the way of careers in high-tech beyond the problem of a high school education that does not stress technology, Braverman said. One problem is geographic location as most Israeli Arabs live in the north or south of the country, while most high-tech jobs are in the Tel Aviv region. In addition, they have a meager social network in the field, and a lack of professional experience, he stated.
Roughly 150,000 Israelis work in high-tech. Only 1.1percent of them are Arab, while nearly 20 percent of the general population is Arab. The budget allocation is expected to begin to effect a change.